Track and Field Throwback Thursday #TBT

This weekend the Iowa State University’s Track and Field teams (@CycloneTrackXC) are heading to Northern California for meets (click here for further details). In light of a busy upcoming April full of track and field events , this week’s #TBT pictures are blasts from our Track and Field’s past.

The Iowa State University Men’s Track and Field program has a history that goes back to 1905.

Jumping hurdles at a Men’s Track & Field meet ca. 1906 (University Photographs box 1948)

Women’s Track and Field began at Iowa State University in 1974. The Track and Field program features many indoor and outdoor sports including, but not limited to, sprints, relays, hurdles, long and high jumps, shot put, and discus.

Jumping hurdles at a Women’s Track & Field meet 1988 (University Photographs box 2032)

Drop by our reading room to check out more Iowa State University sports photographs! We’re open Monday – Friday from 10-4.




Ex libris Charles Atwood Kofoid

Bookplate, reads "Ex-libris Charles Atwood Kofoid" in Geographische Geschichte des Menschen.

Bookplate, reads “Ex-libris Charles Atwood Kofoid” in Geographische Geschichte des Menschen.

Occasionally we come across a book with an interesting provenance, or history of ownership, that we didn’t know we had. Recently our reference specialist came upon a book in our collections with the bookplates of Charles Atwood Kofoid. A quick Google search informed her that Kofoid was an American zoologist of some note.

Kofoid (1865-1947) was a zoologist at University of California, Berkeley. He classified many new species of marine protozoans, and he was an early supporter of the creation of a marine station in La Jolla, California, first called the Marine Biological Association of San Diego, which later became Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He served as the assistant director at Scripps from 1903-1923. His papers are held at University of California, San Diego and the Bancroft Library at University of California, Berkeley. For photographs of Kofoid, see UC San Diego’s digital collection.

The title page and bookplate of Geographische Geschichte des Menschen.

The title page and bookplate of Geographische Geschichte des Menschen.

And the book? It is a copy of Geographische Geschichte des Menschen, und der allgemein verbreiteten vierfüssigen thiere : nebst einer hieher gehörigen zoologischen weltcharte by Eberhardt August Wilhelm von Zimmermann, published in Leipzig, Germany, in 1778 (call number: QL711 Z65g). It is a work of zoogeography, a field that studies the geographical distribution of animals.  Zimmerman was a German geographer and zoologist who traveled widely throughout Europe and was one of the first to publish books in this field.

Now comes the question, how do we happen to have this particular book in our collections? While we don’t have detailed records of all our acquisitions, a clue comes from the biography of Kofoid. He was born in Iowa’s neighboring state of Illinois, and worked for a number of years (1897-1903) as superintendent of the Illinois River Biological Station. Following that, in 1904-1905, he traveled with Alexander Agassiz on the Albatross Expedition as a planktonologist. Perhaps before his travels, he sold off some of his books, and this title made its way into the collections of Iowa State University Library.

All About Puppies #TBT

You may have missed it, but yesterday was National Puppy Day. Yes, there is a national day for puppies. Why shouldn’t there be? Just look at these faces:


Dalmatian puppies, undated. University Photographs, RS 14/1/N, box 1246.3

Dalmatian puppies, undated. University Photographs, RS 14/1/N, box 1246.3

National Puppy Day was founded in 2006 to not only celebrate the wonderfulness of puppies, but to also encourage responsible adoption and raise awareness of puppy mills. Just remember, “with cute puppies, comes great responsibility.” (I might’ve paraphrased a little).

Want to see more puppy pictures, or pictures of other animals? Ask about University Photographs RS 14/1 (Veterinary Medicine). If you’re more interested in livestock, we have plenty of those photos in University Photographs RS 9/11 (Animal Science). For wildlife, give University Photographs RS 9/10 (Animal Ecology) a try. Hope to see you soon!

“To avoid the expense of a useless journey …”

Today I have a special challenge for our readers. You may wonder what this blog post’s title has to do with ISU. The quoted phrase comes from an 1872 report from the Board of Trustees to the Governor, and it pertains to examinations given to prospective students:


The rejected applicants with no funds to return home probably formed a peculiar underclass, blighting the fair streets of Ames before adopting the ways of the hobo.

I found the sample exam interesting enough to share. Unfortunately, we do not have an answer key. Nevertheless, the boldest minds among you are invited to test their worthiness!

Page 16

Biennial report of the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (1872).


Page 17

Regarding question 6, do you suppose the “office” of the participle is its function? Regarding the spelling portion: did you know the word “erysipelas” (a skin disease)?


Page 18

If you’re not in deep trouble yet, my hat is off to you. I hope it was possible to get partial points for an answer, as opposed to nothing.


Page 19

The last page of the sample exam.


I would not score the required 75/100. I might not even be admitted as a remedial student.

What do you think about the exam? As freshmen in 1872 would we have met in the remedial courses? Could you pass the test so as to “avoid the expense of a useless journey” to and from your family’s farm? Did you remember to bring your own straw tick, as instructed? I look forward to your comments!

Past St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations! #TBT

In 1922, Iowa State College (University) combined their St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, along with other spring celebrations into VEISHEA. But before then, St. Patrick Day was celebrated on its own. In the 1894 Bomb (pictured below) St. Patrick’s Day was described as:


1894 Bomb p. 146


“Now on the 17th day of this season it did happen that there fell a certain church day, none other than St. Patrick’s Day. And this day was made green in the sight of man for each did enhance his own greenishness with yet more color, and on the eve of the same day did several and many of the students get themselves to the opera and there did laugh and sing and the sound of tinkling symbols was in the ear. Egad.”


How many people think of St. Patrick’s Day as a “church day” today I wonder? Time (magazine) posted an online article yesterday on the history of St. Patrick’s Day and the March 17 celebration was originally established as a feast day honoring St. Patrick in 1631.

In 1920, St. Patrick’s Day at Iowa State College (University) was celebrated on March 25 and on that day

“…began the greatest celebration in the history of our college, for on that night the engineers threw open their doors to welcome the college, in the great open house which marked the beginning of the St. Patrick’s day celebration which was to create history on the campus of Iowa State College. After an evening of good fellowship and entertainment for the visitors wherein they were shown the manner in which the engineers live and go about their work, guests and hosts retired to their couches to dream of the greater things which were to take place on the morrow.”

You can read more about that celebration in the 1921 Bomb pages below.

1921 Bomb pp. 60-61

1921 Bomb pp. 60-61

Drop by the reading room and peruse the entire run of the Bomb! We’re open Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm. Or browse selected issues online!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Notable Women of ISU: Margaret Sloss

It’s Women’s History Month and perfect timing for another post in our Notable Women of ISU series. This time we’ll take a look at Margaret Sloss, the first woman to graduate with a D.V.M. at Iowa State (1938).

Margaret Sloss, undated. RS 14/7/51, box 4, folder 9.

Margaret Sloss, undated. RS 14/7/51, box 4, folder 9.

Margaret Wragg Sloss was born in October 28, 1901, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She and her family moved to Ames in 1910, where her father, Thomas Sloss, was hired as the superintendent of buildings, grounds, and construction at what was then Iowa State College. Sloss House, the home of the Sloss family for 11 years starting in 1925, is now the home of the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center.

Invitation addressed to Dr. Sloss from Eleanor Roosevelt to attend a luncheon. Dr. Sloss unfortunately was unable to attend. 1944. RS 14/7/51, box 2, folder 4.

Invitation addressed to Dr. Sloss from Eleanor Roosevelt to attend a luncheon. Dr. Sloss unfortunately was unable to attend. 1944. RS 14/7/51, box 2, folder 4.

Sloss spent her entire career at Iowa State, working her way up from Technician in Veterinary Pathology (1923-1929) to Professor (1965-1972), and Professor Emeritus upon her 1972 retirement. She was the author of many publications and was active in several professional associations including the American Veterinary Medical Association, Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, Phi Kappa Phi, and helped establish the Women’s Veterinary Medical Association (1947) for which she served as president (1950-1952).

In one of her writings, she made the following observation (from a shortened paper or possible speech derived from her publication “Women in the Veterinary Profession,” undated, RS 14/7/51, box 3, folder 10):

The question presented most frequently to the woman veterinarian is, “Why did you decide to study veterinary medicine?” This question always puzzled me as I am sure it has puzzled other women veterinarians. Should, I ask myself, one have to have a reason for taking the course that seems logical to everyone, simply because they belong to the female sex? Are men veterinarians plied with this question as constantly as women? It seems just as illogical to ask a woman why she decided to study veterinary medicine as it would be to ask a man why he took up dancing, singing, costume design or any number of other things as a profession.

Undoubtedly, many female veterinarians have been asked that over the years, and women in other traditionally male-dominated careers have encountered (and still encounter) the same. Being the first woman to graduate veterinary school at Iowa State, Sloss helped pave the way for future women veterinarians – who now dominate the profession.

Margaret Sloss, 1960. RS 14/7/51, (locate image)

Margaret Sloss, 1960. University Photographs, box 1286.

Sloss received much recognition for her achievements, including an honor by the Women’s Centennial Congress as one of 100 women in the United States to successfully follow careers in 1940 that were not followed by women 100 years previously. She also earned the Iowa State Faculty Citation (1959) and the Stange Award for Meritorious Service (1974), as well having Iowa State’s women’s center – the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center – named after her (1981).

She passed away on December 11, 1979 and is interred in the Iowa State University Cemetery.

For more information on Margaret Sloss, stop in and see the Margaret W. (Margaret Wragg) Sloss Papers, RS 14/7/51. See also a couple of online exhibits – one created for ISU’s sesquicentennial celebration, and the other on Twentieth Century Women of Iowa State.

Cypix: Flood flashback #TBT

The Ames & College Railway, better known as the Dinkey, provided transportation between the City of Ames, Iowa and the Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University). As a joint venture of Ames and the College, the Dinkey began operating on July 4, 1891. The Ames & College Railway was sold to the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern Railroad in 1907. That year the Dinkey was replaced with an electric streetcar, known as the interurban.

The photograph below shows the Dinkey tracks during a flood occurring in Spring ca. 1901, water in Squaw Creek overflowed the banks and submerged the surrounding area. The water is high, but doesn’t appear to be over the tracks.

During a flood occuring in Spring 1901 or 1902, water in Squaw Creek over-flowed the banks, submerging the surrounding area. The water is high, but doesn't appear to be over the Ames & college Railway (The Dinkey) tracks. Two individuals are observing the creek and flood. The Marston Water Tower, Carrie Chapman Catt Hall (Botany Hall) and Old Main (after the 1st fire) are in the distance. (University Photographs)

Two individuals are observing the creek and flood. The Marston Water Tower, Carrie Chapman Catt Hall (Botany Hall) and Old Main (after the 1st fire) are in the distance. (University Photographs).


This photograph was found in the University Library Digital Collections. Browse around online to see what we have or drop by in person and visit us in the reading room! We’re open from 10:00 – 4:00 Monday – Friday.

Collection highlight: L. H. (Lois Hattery) Tiffany Papers

Lois Hattery Tiffany was born on this day, March 8, in 1924, in Collins, Iowa. She received her B.S. (1945), M.S. (1947), and Ph.D. (1950) in plant pathology all from Iowa State College (University). She joined the Botany faculty at Iowa State as an Instructor (1950-1956). Tiffany was promoted to Assistant Professor (1956-1958), Associate Professor (1958- 1965), Professor (1965-1994), and Distinguished Professor (1994-2002). She also served as Chair (1990-1996) of the Botany Department. She retired from the department in 2002 and was named Emeritus Distinguished Professor.

Lois Tiffany (University Photographs box 1036)

Lois Tiffany (University Photographs box 1036)

Tiffany, informally known as “The Mushroom Lady,” taught mycology and botany classes at both Iowa State University and the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. Her research included studies of fungal diseases of native prairie plants in Iowa, a 10-year survey of Iowa’s morels, and a study of the fungus flora of Big Bend National Park in Texas. She also participated in the Midwestern mushroom aflatoxin studies of both corn and soybeans. Her continuing commitment to research led to the naming of an Iowa truffle in her honor. The fungus, named Mattirolomyces tiffanyae, was discovered in 1998 in several locations of Story County’s oak woods.


Tiffany also made great advancements for the place of women in the sciences despite the challenges of sexism in the early years of her career. She was the first woman president of the Iowa Academy of Science, the first woman president of the Osborn Club, and the first woman scientist in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to be awarded the title of Distinguished Professor.

Botanical specimen container used by Lois Tiffany (Artifact collection 2011-197.01)

Botanical specimen container used by Lois Tiffany (Artifact collection 2011-197.01)

Read more about Lois Tiffany in the Ecological Society of America’s recent blog post. We hold her papers here in the University Archives.

CyPix: Balance Beam Brilliance #TBT @CycloneGYM

In recognition of the Women’s Gymnastics Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series match tomorrow, here’s a pic of women’s gymnastics from our University Photographs.

ISU gymnast on the balance beam circa 1991 (University Photographs box 2018)

ISU gymnast on the balance beam circa 1991 (University Photographs box 2018)

The Iowa State women’s gymnastics program began as a varsity sport in the 1973-1974 season.

The Cy-Hawk Series dates back to 2004. In the series ISU leads Iowa at six titles to five with ISU winning the most recent series during the 2014–2015 school year.

Come drop by and visit us to see more University sports pictures! We’re open Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

National Nutrition Month!

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and held annually in March.

What better way to kick off National Nutrition Month than to take a look at the Food Science and Human Nutrition history here at Iowa State University.

The Food and Nutrition curriculum was a part of the domestic economy courses of 1872. Mary B. Welch was the organizer and head of the Department of Domestic Economy at Iowa State from 1875 to 1883. Mrs. Welch taught from her life experiences and self-study, as well as from her study of cosmetic science at various institutions. She was also the wife of Adonijah Welch, the first president of Iowa State College (University). You can view some of her papers and her cookbook online in our Digital Collections.

Mary Beaumont Welch (University Photographs box 50).

Mary Beaumont Welch (University Photographs box 50).

The Department of Household Science was established in 1918. Food and Nutrition first appeared in the college catalog in 1924-25 under the Home Economics program.


page 176 from the 1924-25 college catalog

Vitamin research lab 11/13/1928 from box 961 University Photographs

Vitamin research lab 11/13/1928 (University Photographs box 961).

The name was changed to the Department of Food and Nutrition in 1953. The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition was created in 1991 as the result of the merger of the Departments of Food and Nutrition in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and Food Technology in the College of Agriculture. The merged department was jointly administered by both Colleges. The department offered courses in consumer food science, dietetics, food science and technology, and nutritional science.

Box 961 from University Photographs

Dietetics senior trip to Rochester (University Photographs box 961).

On July 1, 2005, the College of Education and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences combined to become the College of Human Sciences. The planning phase of the combination was completed in the fall of 2004. The department continues to be jointly administered by the College of Human Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Box 968 from University Photographs

Nancy Peck, Food and Nutrition graduate, teaches course in food preparation (University Photographs box 968).